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Dear Ben Carson: Actually, You Are a 'Homophobe' If You're Opposed to Marriage Equality Now

It really says it all about the Republican Party that the candidate who is the current frontrunner in several polls made the most bigoted, anti-gay comment of last night's GOP debate in Boulder, Colorado. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson spoke for all those who are swept up by irrational fear and now see themselves as the victims of supposed "enemies" who won't allow those fears to bolster discrimination against people when he said:

[The gay community] shouldn't automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe. And this is one of the myths that the left perpetrates on our society, and this is how they frighten people and get people to shut up. You know, that's what the PC culture is all about, and it's destroying this nation. The fact of the matter is we the American people are not each other's enemies, it's those people who are trying to divide us who are the enemies. And we need to make that very clear to everybody.

But actually, while there had been a debate in this country about marriage equality for, oh, 25 years or so, it is now the law of the land, after a Supreme Court ruling that decided the freedom to marry exists in the Constitution for every gay and lesbian American. And gay and lesbian people are -- and, for years, have been -- getting married by the thousands all across the country. None of the dire predictions of the anti-gay religious zealots -- of the destruction of society or the downfall of marriage as an institution -- have transpired.

So, if you're opposed to something that is now a right of every American and has been proven in court -- in the federal trial over California's Proposition 8 -- to harm no one, including children, then you do have an irrational fear of homosexuality. And certainly if you're a medical doctor yourself and you're opposed to something that the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association deem normal, natural and healthy and not harmful at all to anyone, then you have an irrational fear of homosexuality. And that is the essence of homophobia - a fear of homosexuality.

Just imagine if, after the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia, which ended state bans on interracial marriage, that a presidential frontrunner said, "It doesn't make me a racist if I don't support mixed marriages." Imagine if that candidate said such a thing right now. Would we not call that person a racist?

So, Ben Carson, you are not only a homophobe; you're a bigot, having spewed anti-gay remarks again and again, bizarrely claiming prison turns people gay and standing firm on reckless, hateful comments in which you said homosexuality leads to bestiality and pedophilia. Again, this is an irrational fear -- like any other phobia -- of something that cannot hurt you, has been proven so and isn't hurting anyone else. And the fear is what then drives you to bigotry and to say ugly things about other people, claiming that it is they who are "destroying this nation" because they won't acquiesce to your fear and allow your fear to drive discrimination against others. The fact that you couch the fears in religious beliefs -- or even that those beliefs may have nurtured or even created those fears -- doesn't change anything. Your religion cannot be used to excuse fears that embolden you to discriminate.

The problem is yours, not ours, Dr. Carson. Phobias, you certainly should know as a neurosurgeon, require hard work and psychiatric or psychological counseling to overcome. So, I'd say, "doctor, heal thyself," but, actually, you need to get yourself some help.

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